Optical fiber network

Already in 1976 O’Neill complained about the ugliness of TV-antennas on homes [1]. Instead he suggested that in space settlements only small receivers would be needed, because of the short distances and the lack of convex curvature in space settlements. We, however propose another solution to eliminate ugly TV-antennas.

In space settlements each home, and by extension all buildings, will be connected to the settlement’s optical fiber network (OFN). We propose that the optical fibers will actually reach into the homes, rather than to a local station.

In a space settlement the OFN will make coaxial cable networks, copper telephone lines and ADSL obsolete. Instead telephone, television and internet services are provided through the OFN. Besides these services we suggest several additional services.

Since every home and other buildings have an OFN connection, it would make sense to make fire alarm systems compulsory in all buildings. These alarms will be connected to the local fire department through OFN, even if one has no OFN subscription. Since fire is one the most serious threats to the inhabitants of a space settlement, this justified as it enables the fire department to act quickly.

Similarly, security alarms could be connected directly to the police department.

OFN’s primary function is to enable intra-settlement communication. Due to the distance between settlements and Earth [2], instant communication (e.g. telephone and IR messengers) with the blue planet can be ruled out. Inter-settlement instant communication depends on the current distance between two settlements. Consequently, the OFN will establish a kind of settlement-wide LAN.

Needless to say, is that OFN is useless for outside communication. In order to communicate with outsiders, OFN has to be connected to an external radio antenna.

[1] Until recently cable television have been more common in Europe than the US, and the use of private TV-antennas is almost limited by households in remote rural areas. O’Neill, as a US citizen, wrote from an American perspective. And as an European I considered it to be logical to connect homes to a cable network, at the time I read his book for the first time.

[2] For settlements in orbit around the Earth, the delay is negligible. We however intend to establish space settlements at the Sun-Earth Lagrange points, where the delay will be about 8 minutes.